Learning from Public Attitudes to Science 2011
“When you think about it, everything’s
related to science”
Sarah Castell
Ja...
Our session today
1. What is Public Attitudes to Science 2011?
2. What we found
3. What the research process taught us abo...
1. The study
Aims of the research
BIS, working with stakeholders, wants to know:
 What the UK public think about science, scientists, ...
Methodology
Mixed methodology
approach over 3 stages
Literature review
 Synthesise existing
knowledge
 Compare UK attitu...
2. What we found
The UK public increasingly values science
73
79 82
0%
25%
50%
75%
100%
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
62
70
59
67
0%
25%
50%
75%
100%
2...
People generally see science as benefiting
society, more so than in 2008
Base for 2011: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+
Fieldwork...
30
23
48
52
13
15
3
3
4
7
This is in terms of its economic impact…
The UK needs to develop its
science and technology sect...
… and also in terms of the wider cultural
benefits of science
“I watched a science
programme that shows how a
microchip is...
0%
25%
50%
75%
100%
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
Scientists are valued members of society,
...
25
24
23
25
20
21
19
15
13
9
58
59
61
57
57
52
54
56
57
47
10
10
9
10
15
18
19
20
21
32
2
2
1
2
3
5
3
2
3
5
5
5
7
6
6
5
5
...
Those who begin as sceptics are willing to
change their views
Technical
advances/
inventions versus
understanding
nature
S...
However, people still have concerns about
science and scientists
12%
42%
17%
21%
5%4%
Over half are still concerned about whether
regulation can control individual scientists…
Neither/nor...
… and two-fifths are worried about the
intentions of scientists
Q Please could you tell me the extent to which you agree o...
Concerns often stem from a lack of
understanding of how science is done
Many still have a stereotypical view of
scientists
“A scientist is a teacher at
mum’s school and they mostly
do experiment...
Many assume scientific data are checked…
18
5
44
31
17
24
10
26
1
7
10
7
Before scientific findings are
announced, other s...
The kind of formalised process people want
to see is often in place, but not known about
51%
47%
39%
35%
32%
24%
16%
14%
1...
But engaging with the public to improve this
understanding is challenging
6%
38%
40%
3%
11%
Most want to hear more about science than
they currently do…
far too much (2%)
Don’t know
the right
amou...
… but more information does not always
make people feel more informed…
Base for 2011: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+
Fieldwork d...
… especially when there is conflicting
information to deal with…
Q Please could you tell me the extent to which you agree ...
… and for one in four, hearing more about
science makes them more anxious
Q Please could you tell me the extent to which y...
7%
2%
21%
50%
17%
4%Don’t know
I’m not interested in public consultation on
science issues, as long as scientists are doin...
So how do you engage these different groups
in ways prefer and respond to?
Segmentation holds the clues…
Confident Engagers
CONFIDENT
ENGAGERS
DISTRUSTFUL
ENGAGERS
LATE
ADOPTERS
CONCERNED
DISENGAGED
SCEPTICS
INDIFFERENT
Most en...
Distrustful Engagers
CONFIDENT
ENGAGERS
DISTRUSTFUL
ENGAGERS
LATE
ADOPTERS
CONCERNED
DISENGAGED
SCEPTICS
INDIFFERENT
 Aro...
Characteristics
 Did not enjoy science at school
 But now take a strong interest in science, and interested in
becoming ...
The Concerned
CONFIDENT
ENGAGERS
DISTRUSTFUL
ENGAGERS
LATE
ADOPTERS
CONCERNED
DISENGAGED
SCEPTICS
INDIFFERENT
Characterist...
Disengaged Sceptics
CONFIDENT
ENGAGERS
DISTRUSTFUL
ENGAGERS
LATE
ADOPTERS
CONCERNED
DISENGAGED
SCEPTICS
INDIFFERENT
Charac...
The Indifferent
CONFIDENT
ENGAGERS
DISTRUSTFUL
ENGAGERS
LATE
ADOPTERS
CONCERNED
DISENGAGED
SCEPTICS
INDIFFERENT
Characteri...
So in summary…
 The public values and is interested in science, and this
interest is rising – dispels the myth of an “ant...
3. What the research process
taught us about engagement
From the qualitative work…
At best, science
seen as creative,
as well as rigorous
and meticulous
Older people have an
expe...
From the qualitative work…
Participants didn’t know the process of doing science – how
funding works and how science gets ...
4. Any questions?
Over to you!
 What are the challenges of engaging our different segments
and how have you experienced this in the past?
...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

SCC2011 - Public Attitudes to Science Survey

1,452

Published on

0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
1,452
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
0
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
0
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Transcript of "SCC2011 - Public Attitudes to Science Survey"

  1. 1. Learning from Public Attitudes to Science 2011 “When you think about it, everything’s related to science” Sarah Castell Jayesh Navin Shah Marilyn Booth
  2. 2. Our session today 1. What is Public Attitudes to Science 2011? 2. What we found 3. What the research process taught us about engaging the public in science 4. Any questions and over to you – how you can take the findings from the study forward
  3. 3. 1. The study
  4. 4. Aims of the research BIS, working with stakeholders, wants to know:  What the UK public think about science, scientists, science policy and science regulation in the UK, and why  How do people engage with science and their views on public consultation on science?  What is the perceived impact of science on society?  What are people’s perceptions of science as a school subject and a career choice?  Views on specific Science & Society Expert Group issues  How have public attitudes have evolved since previous PAS studies conducted in 2000, 2005 and 2008?
  5. 5. Methodology Mixed methodology approach over 3 stages Literature review  Synthesise existing knowledge  Compare UK attitudes to those in other countries Cluster analysis  Using survey data to segment the UK population Face-to-face survey  October-December 2010  2,103 UK adults  Representative sample Four discussion groups  February 2011  London and Huntingdon  Held with different cluster groups to add insight to cluster analysis Stage one Stage three Stage two Reconvened workshops  September and December 2011  London, Beverley, Cardiff and Birmingham  Explore the drivers behind attitudes – the “why” – in depth
  6. 6. 2. What we found
  7. 7. The UK public increasingly values science
  8. 8. 73 79 82 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 62 70 59 67 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 % Agree science is such a big part of our lives we should all take an interest % Agree it is important to know about science in my daily life Most think science is important, and two- thirds find it important to them personally Q For each of the statements, please could you tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree? Base for 2011: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates for 2011: 11 October-19 December 2010
  9. 9. People generally see science as benefiting society, more so than in 2008 Base for 2011: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates: 11 October-19 December 2010 Q For each of the statements, please could you tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree? 82 70 79 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 54 46 43 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 % Agree on the whole, science will make our lives easier % Agree the benefits of science are greater than any harmful effect
  10. 10. 30 23 48 52 13 15 3 3 4 7 This is in terms of its economic impact… The UK needs to develop its science and technology sector in order to enhance its international competitiveness Scientific research makes a direct contribution to economic growth in the UK Base: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates: 11 October-19 December 2010 Q For each of the statements, please could you tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree? % Agree 75% 79% % Strongly agree % Tend to agree % Neither/nor % Tend to disagree % Strongly disagree % Don't know
  11. 11. … and also in terms of the wider cultural benefits of science “I watched a science programme that shows how a microchip is made. The programme is very interesting … It shows that science is not a dry stuffy subject and can have a lot of humour in it.” Birmingham participant “Before, [I thought] science was the Bunsen burner, nothing else, and then I thought it’s everything: gardening, food, glasses.” Birmingham participant “My son was thoroughly awestruck with the Launchpad section [of the Science Museum] … Showing children the effects of viscosity, light distortion, chemical reactions and much more elicited quite a few oohs and aaahs … whilst also teaching them why.” London participant Half the public (50%) have taken part in a science-related leisure activity in the past 12 months, e.g. a trip to a science museum
  12. 12. 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Scientists are valued members of society, again more so than in 2008 Base for 2011: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates for 2011: 11 October-19 December 2010 Q For each of the statements, please could you tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree? 86 8885 76 67 82 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 % Agree scientists make a valuable contribution to society % Agree scientists want to make life better for the average person
  13. 13. 25 24 23 25 20 21 19 15 13 9 58 59 61 57 57 52 54 56 57 47 10 10 9 10 15 18 19 20 21 32 2 2 1 2 3 5 3 2 3 5 5 5 7 6 6 5 5 6 7 6 Most trust scientists to follow the rules, though trust does vary by institution Q How much, if at all, do you trust each of the following to follow any rules and regulations which apply to their profession? Scientists working for Government % A great deal % A fair amount % Not very much % Not at all % Don't know Scientists working for private companies Scientists working for universities Scientists working for charities Scientists working for environmental groups Base: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates: 11 October-19 December 2010 Engineers working for universities University lecturers Engineers working for private companies Researchers working for Government Researchers working for universities % Great deal/fair amount 72% 56% 83% 76% 72% 83% 82% 70% 72% 83%
  14. 14. Those who begin as sceptics are willing to change their views Technical advances/ inventions versus understanding nature See science as creatively interpreting findings, not just dull gathering of data Initial conflicting or stereotypical ideas of what science is about… … but people were open to changing views after discussion “Useful” and “less useful” science (e.g. space science) See space science as equally useful when hearing directly from scientists about development of CAT scans etc Less trusting of scientists working for industry Reassess this when hearing directly from industry scientists (previous lack of exposure to industry scientists)
  15. 15. However, people still have concerns about science and scientists
  16. 16. 12% 42% 17% 21% 5%4% Over half are still concerned about whether regulation can control individual scientists… Neither/nor Strongly agree Don’t know Tend to disagree Tend to agree Strongly disagree Q Please could you tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement? Rules will not stop scientists doing what they want behind closed doors Base: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates: 11 October-19 December 2010 54% Agree 25% Disagree
  17. 17. … and two-fifths are worried about the intentions of scientists Q Please could you tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement? Scientists seem to be trying new things without stopping to think about the consequences 8% 33% 25% 25% 4%4% Neither/nor Strongly agreeDon’t know Tend to disagree Tend to agree Strongly disagree Base: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates: 11 October-19 December 2010 41% Agree30% Disagree
  18. 18. Concerns often stem from a lack of understanding of how science is done
  19. 19. Many still have a stereotypical view of scientists “A scientist is a teacher at mum’s school and they mostly do experiments on animals. I would describe them as freaky and weird.” Beverley participant’s daughter “You think of white coats … they are like advanced doctors.” Cardiff participant “When we don’t know much about scientists we get the impression they are airy-fairy, head in the clouds.” Beverley participant “A professor of medicine … carry out trials and tests with chemicals.” Birmingham participant
  20. 20. Many assume scientific data are checked… 18 5 44 31 17 24 10 26 1 7 10 7 Before scientific findings are announced, other scientists have checked them Scientists adjust their findings to get the answers they want Base: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates: 11 October-19 December 2010 Q For each of the statements, please could you tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree? % Agree % Strongly agree % Tend to agree % Neither/nor % Tend to disagree % Strongly disagree % Don't know 62% 36% … but don’t know this is a formalised process called peer review, so doubts linger “Don’t we tend to look after our own? Sometimes we’re very critical, but doctors tend to be a closed circle and if one makes an error they … cover up and protect their own.” London participant
  21. 21. The kind of formalised process people want to see is often in place, but not known about 51% 47% 39% 35% 32% 24% 16% 14% 14% 9% If I knew that the findings had been formally reviewed by other scientists If I heard the same thing from a number of different sources If they had been published in a scientific journal If they fitted in with other things I know already If I could see the original study for myself If I saw them on a TV programme If the research had been done in the UK If I read them in a broadsheet newspaper If I had heard of the place where the research was done If I saw them on the internet Q Which of these, if any, would make you more likely to believe the findings of scientific studies? Base: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates: 11 October-19 December 2010 Top ten mentions
  22. 22. But engaging with the public to improve this understanding is challenging
  23. 23. 6% 38% 40% 3% 11% Most want to hear more about science than they currently do… far too much (2%) Don’t know the right amount too much too little Q Which of the following statements on this card do you most agree with? These days I hear and see … information about science far too little Base for 2011: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates for 2011: 11 October-19 December 2010 8% too much/far too much 51% too little/ far too little
  24. 24. … but more information does not always make people feel more informed… Base for 2011: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates for 2011: 11 October-19 December 2010 Q How well informed do you feel, if at all, about science, and scientific research and developments? % Informed trend 40 43 55 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Bang Goes the Theory starts on primetime BBC One slot BBC Year of Science Government’s Science: So What campaign
  25. 25. … especially when there is conflicting information to deal with… Q Please could you tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement? There is so much conflicting information about science it is difficult to know what to believe 15% 56% 15% 10% 3% Neither/nor Strongly agree Don’t know Tend to disagree Tend to agree Strongly disagree (1%) Base: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates: 11 October-19 December 2010 70% Agree 11% Disagree April 2008 July 2008
  26. 26. … and for one in four, hearing more about science makes them more anxious Q Please could you tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statement? The more I know about science, the more worried I am 4% 20% 21%39% 14% Neither/nor Strongly agreeDon’t know (1%) Tend to disagree Tend to agree Strongly disagree Base: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates: 11 October-19 December 2010 24% Agree 53% Disagree
  27. 27. 7% 2% 21% 50% 17% 4%Don’t know I’m not interested in public consultation on science issues, as long as scientists are doing their jobs I would like to know that the public are consulted on science issues, but I don’t want to be involved personally I would like to have more of a say in science issues I would like to become actively involved in public consultations on science issues I am already actively involved in public consultations on science issues Base: 2,103 UK adults aged 16+ Fieldwork dates: 11 October-19 December 2010 Q Which of these statements, if any, comes closest to your own attitude to public consultation on science issues? Most want the public to be involved, but few want to be involved themselves But still 17 million people wanting more involvement
  28. 28. So how do you engage these different groups in ways prefer and respond to? Segmentation holds the clues…
  29. 29. Confident Engagers CONFIDENT ENGAGERS DISTRUSTFUL ENGAGERS LATE ADOPTERS CONCERNED DISENGAGED SCEPTICS INDIFFERENT Most engaged Least engaged  One in seven (14%) of the population  Tend to be between 35-54 and affluent (ABC1s) Characteristics  Already highly engaged, with strongly positive attitudes towards science and scientists  Keen for Government to put expert advice and evidence above public and media opinion when it comes to science  Concerns about how the media sensationalises science Implications  Already feel sufficiently engaged and informed  May want to know more about how policymakers incorporate scientific advice into policy and efforts to improve science reporting in the media
  30. 30. Distrustful Engagers CONFIDENT ENGAGERS DISTRUSTFUL ENGAGERS LATE ADOPTERS CONCERNED DISENGAGED SCEPTICS INDIFFERENT  Around one in eight (13%) of the population  Tend to be men aged 55+ and affluent (ABC1s) Characteristics  Again, highly engaged and feel informed about science  Less trusting of those that work in science, and less confident in the Government’s ability to regulate them  Interested in becoming more involved in public consultation and think the public should play a larger role in science decisions Implications  Think of scientists as introverts, working behind closed doors, so the extent to which scientists collaborate and work in teams may surprise them  Make aware of the extent to which the public is already involved in decision- making on science, and opportunities to get involved themselves Most engaged Least engaged
  31. 31. Characteristics  Did not enjoy science at school  But now take a strong interest in science, and interested in becoming more involved in decision-making  Strong environmental and ethical concerns, so climate change, GM crops and vivisection are contentious issues Late Adopters CONFIDENT ENGAGERS DISTRUSTFUL ENGAGERS LATE ADOPTERS CONCERNED DISENGAGED SCEPTICS INDIFFERENT  Around one in five (18%) of the population  Tend to be women aged 16-34 Implications  Engage more strongly with science when not treated as an isolated subject, but instead relates back to their daily lives and interests  Want to hear scientists discuss the social and ethical implications of their research more Most engaged Least engaged
  32. 32. The Concerned CONFIDENT ENGAGERS DISTRUSTFUL ENGAGERS LATE ADOPTERS CONCERNED DISENGAGED SCEPTICS INDIFFERENT Characteristics  Religion tends to play more important role in their lives  Have strong views on the limitations of science and less convinced about the economic benefits of investing in it  Reservations about the intentions of scientists and whether the Government can control them  Around one in four (23%) of the population  Tend to be women aged 16-24, less affluent (C2DEs) and from BME communities Implications  Want to hear more about the intentions of scientists, especially those working in controversial areas such as stem cell research or synthetic biology  Want to know how individual scientists and scientific professional bodies, as well as Government, are responding to the public’s concerns Most engaged Least engaged
  33. 33. Disengaged Sceptics CONFIDENT ENGAGERS DISTRUSTFUL ENGAGERS LATE ADOPTERS CONCERNED DISENGAGED SCEPTICS INDIFFERENT Characteristics  Again, put off science at school and today find it overwhelming  Do not trust scientists to self-regulate, so have conservative attitudes towards science regulation  Don’t want personal involvement, but want to know the Government is listening to the general public on science  Around one in eight (13%) of the population  Tend to be women and less affluent (C2DEs) with fewer qualifications Implications  Less likely to ever be interested in science, so more challenging for engagement  But may engage more strongly if shown that science is already a big part of their everyday lives Most engaged Least engaged
  34. 34. The Indifferent CONFIDENT ENGAGERS DISTRUSTFUL ENGAGERS LATE ADOPTERS CONCERNED DISENGAGED SCEPTICS INDIFFERENT Characteristics  Do not feel informed about science, but not especially interested or concerned either  More generally, tend not to be interested in new challenges or learning new skills  Think science is something that other people do  One in five (20%) of the population  Tend to be retired older people, often less affluent (C2DEs) Implications  Again, more challenging given that many do not want involvement  A need to demystify science among this cluster, explaining that it can be simple, and that anyone can do science Most engaged Least engaged
  35. 35. So in summary…  The public values and is interested in science, and this interest is rising – dispels the myth of an “anti-science” public  Attitudes to science are not fixed – people are willing to change their views based on what they see and hear  Concerns often reflect a perceptions gap – many lack understanding of the formalised processes in science  Public engagement is not easy – more information does not always make people feel more informed  Targeting communication and engagement can ensure that it is not always the same “Confident Engagers” getting involved
  36. 36. 3. What the research process taught us about engagement
  37. 37. From the qualitative work… At best, science seen as creative, as well as rigorous and meticulous Older people have an expectation that the science “I learned at school” is difficult and dry, while new science is seen as entertaining, stylish, easier to engage with, with high production values
  38. 38. From the qualitative work… Participants didn’t know the process of doing science – how funding works and how science gets out into the world… … but they loved talking to scientists!
  39. 39. 4. Any questions?
  40. 40. Over to you!  What are the challenges of engaging our different segments and how have you experienced this in the past?  How does knowing about the different attitudinal groups help you to take decisions on communication in future?  What does it mean when people say they don’t feel informed?  Is it the role of science communicators/public engagement to make people feel informed?

×